Verdi: Requiem

Album cover art for upc 822231180029
Label: LSO Live
Catalog: LSO0800
Format: SACD

London Symphony Chorus; London Symphony Orchestra; Noseda, Gianandrea; Pertusi, Michele; Grimaldi, Erika; Barcellona, Daniela; Meli, Francesco

Recognized as one of the leading conductors of his generation, Gianandrea Noseda won the International Opera Awards Conductor of the Year 2016 and Musical America’s Conductor of the Year 2015. Recently appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, he gathered together an outstanding cast of Italian stars for these searing performances of Verdi’s Requiem to open the LSO’s 16/17 season. The Requiem shows Verdi’s mastery of choral writing at its most concentrated and its dramatic power, most evident in the famous Dies irae, echoes the composer’s approach to opera, for which he is best known. It was written as a memorial for the Italian writer and poet Alessandro Manzoni and premiered on 22 May 1874 – the one-year anniversary of Manzoni’s death. The Requiem began life as a collaboration of pieces written by Italian composers to honour Gioachino Rossini’s death. Verdi had suggested the group each compose a movement for the Requiem, however, nine days before the premiere was due to take place, the organising committee abandoned the project. Frustrated and disheartened, Verdi toyed with his submitted movement Libera Me for many years, ultimately completing the entire work on his own to celebrate the life of Manzoni. Verdi’s purpose was religious as well as dramatic. For the great Italian, the death of the eminent writer was a grievous blow. His Requiem may be seen as a protest against the outrage of death as much as a plea for celestial peace and it is a work of the most highly concentration emotion. As Brahms described the piece after its premiere: ‘Only a genius could’ve writen something like this.’

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